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1 Timothy 5:17– Double honor

14-06-2024 - Posted by Hans

Let elders who have presided ideally be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who are toiling in word and teaching

Most translations speak of ‘elders’ here, which is not entirely correct, because the Greek word (presbuteros) is not a superlative, but a magnifying degree. An elder is also not necessarily someone of advanced age, but someone with more experience than the rest. Compare this with the ‘senior’ in business. The ‘elders’ in the ecclesia are men (because ‘presteros’ is male) with more experience. You do not become an ‘elder’ by appointment, but by age or experience. Only when an elder is appointed as an supervisor is there an office (Tit.1:5).

“Who have presided” does not speak so much of prestige, as of people who led the way by being an example. And of course that deserves double honor!

Paul specifically highlights one category of prominent elders. They are those “who are toiling in word and teaching.” Not because they were appointed as a ’teaching elder’ (as in many church practices), but because they had that gift and passion. They preached the word and taught it. They not only labored, but they toiled. As Paul also toiled and struggled (4:10) to make known that the living God is the Savior of all men.